For, at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15,16)
Have you ever read a book or seen a movie knowing how it will end? While knowing the outcome won’t necessarily ruin the experience of reading or viewing, it does cause us to approach the story with a different mindset.
Because the outcome is not in doubt, we view what is happening through a different lens. We enjoy the story as it progresses, perhaps noticing things we might have missed if our full attention was on trying to anticipate the outcome.
Whenever a setback for the hero occurs the question may not be “Will they succeed?” but “How will they succeed?”
The same is true in ministry as we join with God and His mission in the world. Inevitably you will face disappointments and unexpected setbacks. Programmes won’t always go as well as you had hoped and people won’t always respond as you had prayed.
Amidst the uncertainty and setbacks that come with leadership, it is good for us to be reminded of the “end of the story” – those things we can be assured of.
In these verses which are found near the end of Paul’s letter to Timothy, we see Paul listing a number of these certainties. It is good for us to reflect on these amidst the demands and disappointments of leadership.
Firstly, Jesus is coming again! In a world in which there is so much uncertainty and bad news – a world in which young people are reporting stress and depression in increasing numbers, we have some reassuring news that can be counted on. No matter how uncertain or dark things might get, we know the end of the story. A new world and a new age will dawn at the coming of Christ. The problems of the world and the stress of life will pass.
Secondly, Almighty God, is in control of all creation, even when it appears He might seem disinterested or absent but when the time is right He will act. Your efforts at leading may feel weak and ineffective at times but God sees what you’re doing and He is still at work in and through you.
Thirdly, all that we see around us is temporary. In time we will pass away and what we’ve done in His name will be all but forgotten. Yet the One we serve will never die and for that reason, nothing of what you do in His name will ever die with Him. It will live on in His memory and in the hearts and minds of those you lead who will pass on into eternity.
Finally, nothing we do as leaders should ever be undertaken with the intention of bringing honour and glory to ourselves. When you fully grasp this you’ll not feel discouraged when you are criticised and nor will you fall into the trap of pride when things go well and you are praised. Ultimately, all you do is done to serve and honour Him forever.
What disappointments or discouragements are you currently facing in leadership? Spend some time reflecting on the “end of the story” and allow God to change your perspective.